Campaigners have called for a huge supertrawler currently fishing off the Outer Hebrides to be banned from UK waters. The MARGIRIS is 14 times bigger than the average British fishing vessel. Today it was just under 100 miles north-west of Lewis, near prime fishing grounds.The Lithuanian-registered trawler is known as the world’s second largest fishing vessel and reportedly capable of catching 250 tonnes of fish per day.
Group calls for ban on ‘dolphin-killing’ supertrawlers
In 2013 the MARGIRIS was banned from Australian waters and the Blue Planet Society (BPS), an environmental group which campaigns to end over-fishing and over-exploitation of the world’s oceans, has called for the UK Government to do the same. It argues that thousands of dolphins are being killed due to the practices carried out by large vessels. The group said: “Australia kicked out dolphin-killing supertrawlers – the UK needs to do the same. “What’s the point of Brexit if it can’t even protect UK waters from supertrawlers like MARGIRIS ?” BPS founder John Hourston said the ship was likely to be chasing herring, mackerel and blue whiting, and described the huge vessel as “massively efficient”. There is no suggestion the MARGIRIS is breaking any rules.
But there are growing concerns about the impact on both marine life and smaller fishing businesses whenever large amounts of fish are removed all at once from the sea. North-east fishing boss calls for authorities to take action after Greenpeace ’caused havoc’ on North Sea supertrawler
The MARGIRIS was spotted by BPS using online tracking in an area of sea west of the Hebrides that is a designated marine protected area. Though sailing under a Lithuanian flag, the 2,000ft-long vessel is Dutch-owned. It can hold 6,000 tonnes of fish. BPS is campaigning for better regulation of supertrawler activities and also for an end to the “mass slaughter” of dolphins it says is caused by modern day fishing practices. Campaigners set up an online petition calling on EU Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius to take action. It has accumulated more than 550,000 signatures so far.In October 2019 Parlevliet & Van der Plas, the Dutch fishing company which owns the Margiris, insisted “we always respect the law”.#
Source : pressandjournal.com / Mike Merrit